Thursday, October 04, 2012

Your 2012 Giants are 94-68: NL West Division Champs, 2 of 3 Years

What an EPIC season!  I've been covering that aspect of the season starting around the time that Matt Cain had the first ever Perfect Game in Giants franchise history.  A simple search of my blog will bring up many of them, so I won't cover them here.

EPIC:  Posey Batting Title

But I will cover recent ones that have happened.  First and most of all was Buster Posey winning the official 2013 NL batting title, with the removal of the extra AB that would have qualified Melky for the title.  Here is coverage from Baggarly, Schulman, and Pavlovic.  He won with a .336 batting average and a strong push in the second half where the batted .385/.456/.646/1.102 (very Bondsian numbers) overall and finished much at the same pace, as since August 31st, his batting line is .382/.434/.527/1.062, which propelled him to the title, while McCutchen faltered and fell a lot and Melky was suspended and asked not to get the benefit of the rule that makes ineligible players eligible for the title.

It was an amazing end to a season where Bochy and the team had been hoping to get 100-110 games out of him IN TOTAL (he ended with 148 games:  111 at catcher, 29 at 1B, 3 at DH) because of his severe injury last season.  Amazing also because this is his first full season as a player, after having last season taken away from him violently and unwarrantedly.

Buster became only the fourth catcher EVER in the NL's 137 seasons to win the batting title and the first NL catcher since Ernie Lombardi (a SF Bay Area native) in 1942.  He is the second catcher in the majors since Lombardi to win it (Mauer has won it twice in the AL).  He is the first Giants player to win the crown since Barry Bonds did it in 2004, here is the list of Giants who have have won the title (from Mercury):
  • Roger Connor, 1885 (first Giants career leader in homeruns in the NL; see my article on that here)
  • Jack Glasscock, 1890
  • Larry Doyle, 1915
  • Bill Terry, 1930
  • Willie Mays, 1954
  • Barry Bonds, 2002
  • Barry Bonds, 2004
  • Buster Posey, 2012
He is the 7th Giant to win the title, second SF Giants to win, third title for SF Giants.  He is credited in the media for leading the league in OBP (baseball-reference.com is showing Joey Votto as the leader, but with added oh-fer phantom plate appearances; I guess Posey leads for those with actual PAs).  I went through the leaders and the last catcher to lead the league in OBP was Chief Meyers (one of the rare non-whites to play in the majors before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier) in 1912.

And a nice, feel-good moment out of this was that Pence rounded up donations across the team to buy Posey an unspecified gift to commemorate his accomplishment (despite prodding from the media - Baggarly asked if it got good gas mileage -  it was never disclosed what was given).

EPIC:  Pitching Staff

Had we known that the 2012 Giants would have the first Giants staff since 1962 to have four 14-game winners (Vogelsong was one win short of making it four 15-game winners;  he certainly did well enough on Wednesday), it would not have been too big a shock.  That it happened without Lincecum is the big shocker, as it was Cain, Bumgarner, Zito, and Vogelsong who made up that quartet.

EPIC:  Hitting Streaks

As reported by Baggarly, Scutaro's single in the last game of the season gave him a 20-game hit streak, the third such streak by a Giant this season - previously done by Pagan and Sandoval.  This gave the 2012 Giants three players with 20-game hit streaks, the first time in any season in franchise history that such an event has happened (at least back 94 years for which there is full season date, so notes Baggarly).  It was also the first time in the majors since 2003, when the Pirates and Blue Jays had those feats.

EPIC:  Winning Streak Fluky But Still Interesting

Zito and the Giants had a streak where the team won his start for 11 straight starts, the first since 1992 when Bill Swift did it.  While an oddity like a no-hitter where a confluence of events could lead to it happening for Zito and not one of the other starters, still, given his travails while a Giant, still, it is a nice streak, better than him losing 11 straight, for certain.  And he did pitch well in 7 of those 11 starts, compiling a 3.92 ERA during that streak, so it is not like he didn't pitch well during that streak, he did OK.  Still, 10 of the 11 games, the offense did its job and scored at least 4 runs in support.

Baggarly reported some interesting facts about Zito that I've seen for a while and finally touching on in my blog.  He is now 125-7 in his career with at least four runs of support, including 40-3 as a Giant (means he was 85-4 with the A's).  Unfortunately for Zito, our offense has not been that great for most of his time as a Giant, but it has been pretty good this season, even better in the second half.  As Baggarly noted, Zito was 13-1 in starts with at least 4 runs of support in 2012, 14 games in total:  he only had 37 of these starts over the previous five seasons as a Giant (meaning he was 27-2 previously with the Giants).

Other Tidbits of Info
  • The Giants 94 wins match the seventh most wins in the San Francisco era, as they finished eight games ahead of the D-gers.  It is the fifth time the Giants have won the title in Sabean's tenure as Giants GM (16 years) and the eighth time in San Francisco (meaning Sabean is responsible for 62.5% of the divisional titles in the 44 years we have had divisions).  Sabean teams have won at least 90 games in 8 seasons out of 16, Bochy 2 of 6, but more importantly 2 of the last 3, and looking to do this for many more seasons.  The San Francisco Giants have won 90+ games in 18 total seasons.
  • Bochy noted, when asked by an LA writer about Posey's athleticism at 1B, "Oh, I believe he could play third base.  He's got good hands with his athleticism, and he's got good awareness."  That was an idea I had earlier this season, which makes more sense than having Posey play 1B, as many have suggested.  For one thing, as well as he has hit this season, Posey is not considered above average as a bat at 1B.  His bat is way above average at catcher, hence a lot of value is created in that way.  He would also be as above average if he could play 2B, but one has to wonder how his severe ankle injury affected his movement plus, more importantly, 2B have been injured in plays before, and we have Panik looking good at coming up and being our starter there.  Corner OF would also be good, as he has a great arm, but we would have to wonder about his mobility there.  However, many a catcher have made the move to 3B OK, given arm and handling of speeding balls coming off bats, and his bat would be way above average there as well.  Most importantly, Sandoval most probably will eat his way over to 1B at some point, and if not that, then it would be better to play Posey at 3B and keep Belt at 1B for his stellar defense there.
  • Lastly, I wanted to end by pointing out DrB's great post on Buster Posey.  I was going to write something similar, but more along the lines of how Posey is such a great leader.  But heck yeah, DrB hit the nail on the head, Posey is a special player, and that example he used, of Pence and the team giving him a special gift, is exactly what illustrates this concept.  It is, to borrow DrB's words, remarkable.   I've never heard of this before either, not especially since the batting title winner usually wins some sort of car, so I have to think it was something very personal, as DrB says.  Posey is an EPIC player, and it is most certainly a privilege to watch him and to be able to root for the young man.  That is why I am hoping the Giants sign him to some huge long-term contract buying out a couple of his free agent years, though I'm not hopeful that it'll happen, as Posey is keenly aware of his value and that is why he ended up getting $6M for his bonus even though he was the 5th player selected in the draft.  I just hope the two sides can come together and get it done, something long-term like the one Longoria got from Tampa Bay, but which will probably cost a lot more.

9 comments:

  1. Ogc; Again great post. I find your research and comments to be so well thought out; that I would like to see your's and Drb's blogs linked from the Giants main web page. It to me is must read material for " Serious and thoughtful " Giants fans. Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Richard! That is my goal, to be serious and thoughtful, so I'm glad that you find it to be so.

      Yeah, those links are not going to happen. :^) I know I'm an acquired taste, and that's one of the beauties about blogs, I can be myself, for the most part. And I have had my dustups before, though I suppose that's not a big deal, Grant still kept his spot after his knee-jerk reaction to my comment in 2010 resulted in him removing my link off his site (ironically, in the re-do of that group's website, all the links are no longer there anyway, so it would have been gone by now anyway) and his half-hearted slap in the face apology afterward wasn't all that good either.

      That's OK, amazingly, a lot of readers get to me via MCC, ELM, or Bay City Ball, according to the Google Analytics.

      I will be sure to try to, thanks again.

      Delete
  2. Neither side is stupid. The Giants are fully aware of just how marketable and valuable Posey is. And Posey has to be pretty keen on sell outs and atmosphere, and winning. As long as the money gets put on the table, I think it gets done. Money is everything, and it is mutually beneficial. As the Gints have done everything right long term in the last year - sign Cain, sign MadBum, hedge Pablo and hedge Timmy... I expect a long term Posey lock up this offseason.

    I think his presence and the ease of pulling away this year demonstrates how completely he was missed last year. There are tune ups to the engine and then there is the engine itself. Huge cog for Los Gigantes. The pitching has been going strong since 2009. Adding Posey into the mix is the key to getting over that hump. BTW, the Gints finished 5th in BA and 8th in OBP, 12th in runs scored with 718. The offense was just fine. Pitching was 7th in ERA, 6th in QS, but a rather down 13th in ERA and 8th in BAA. (All stats from ESPN snapshot on clubhouse page). I always take those things with a grain of salt, but the huge criticism of "we haven't had a league average offense since 2005" and taking the MLB runs scored and listing off the late 20s rankings every year is a dead argument now. Sabean patched the offense just fine.

    We'll see how it goes. The Reds have a big advantage with their bullpen. They have good hitters, and good starters. This is going to be tough. The Phils shut them down quickly in 2010, they haven't had any playoff experience. We will see if the Gints experience is a factor or not. I believe it will be, time will tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I covered this in a comment on MCC's post on the Giants bullpen recently. Basically, if you look at the relievers the Giants are expected to include on the roster, versus the Reds, the Giants 7 - Casilla, Affedlt, Romo, Lopez, Kontos, Mijares, Mota - had an ERA of 2.67 (2.48 if Mota if left off) and the Reds key 8 relievers had an ERA of 2.62, very similar. Chapman has been extra good, but that don't matter if the Giants are in the lead already. Of course, that's not a given.

      Plus, we might have Vogelsong or Lincecum acting as relievers as well, that might tip the balance to us in the bullpen. (Though I'm confused, Lincecum says Bochy says he is in the rotation, and with Cain and Bumgarner lined up 1-2, that should mean Lincecum 3, but now Bochy says that the other starters might pitch in games 1-2 and thus 3 is in the air.

      Of course, that might be the point, to confuse the Reds about what the Giants are doing, in terms of relief. In any case, I like that Bochy is making a statement to his team that these two games are ultra important to win both. Go for the jugular Bruce!

      Hey, the Phillies looked like they were going to be tough too. And the Giants had no playoff experience either yet outperformed every team when it counted.

      As I've been learning and stating here on my blog, pitching is the key, and if our pitcher outpitches the other pitcher, then we'll be OK.

      With Cain and Bumgarner up 1-2, that's really all we can ask for, having two pitchers who, in their first go at the playoff had 21 shutout inning and an 8 inning shutout of the great offensive Texas team in the World Series, respectively. If that don't get it done, well, at least we gave it our best shot.

      Delete
  3. Great post. Epic!

    Posey is above average anywhere you put him. If you like RC+, he's over 50% above league average run production this year.

    It would be nice if he could move off the position within 3 years. With Belt looking proficient at first and Sandoval undisciplined at the plate and away from the yard, third base is a favorable destination. He'd be good there. Maybe not great, but good. The bat would be great wherever you put him. I don't see Sandoval getting a long term deal after this one is up - could be traded before you know it.

    Cheers!

    -Foothills Ryan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point about him being above average anywhere, based on his stats this year.

      My main thing is trying to find a spot for Posey, since he seems versatile, where he fills a team need while also being above average, and maximizing that value at the same time. 2B would ideally be that spot, but given his ankle, not a prudent one anymore. He can't play SS. 3B is next on the defensive spectrum, plus is an area of potential need given Pablo's continual weight issues.

      Yeah, that's my timetable too, next 3 years or so. By then, we should have our new starting catcher ready, whether Hector or Susac.

      I think Sandoval might get a long-term deal, but his weight issues do make him a greater liability. Still, 900+ OPS hitters are not falling off the vine readily, so I would advise doing all that we can to make him ready and useful before going the trade route. I think it would, to you point, behoove the Giants to keep the door open to trading him, but only if we get a package good enough that we can't say no. Given that Sabean has never made such a deal, I don't know if he is capable of one. For him, it's usually the other way, only he knows when he's got a good player and thus don't give them up at all.

      Delete
    2. If it's safe to speculate trades here, I will. I made an oath not to speculate until the postseason at Giants Extra.

      If I were Sabean...

      during the offseason, pickup a stud pitcher in Free Agency. I'd go Peavy, Haren, then Greinke in that order of preference based on a combination of ability, what's left in the tank and affordability.

      Okay, now you have 6 starters. When the free agents start to dry up, someone is going to knock on the door looking for one of our 6. Why yes, Lincecum is available. Seattle is going to be the one asking. They want to make a move. They saw what the A's did and now they want to be contenders. They need offense, they need another "top-line" pitcher to co-anchor the staff with Felix and help their top prospect pitchers.

      Package Lincecum, Sandoval and cash and try to get back Kyle Seager and a pitching prospect like James Paxton. I believe they have another 3B prospect in their system. Catricala? Sandoval would benefit from the DH.

      Just a flight of fancy perhaps.

      -FR

      Delete
    3. Give up two top players to get two, as far as I can tell, nobodies. No thank you.

      Have no problem with trades, but if I am giving up either of these players, the other team is giving me a huge, HUGE package of prospects for EACH of them, not just one apiece.

      Delete
  4. Ouch! Losing game one is really tough. Does not look good, this should have been our game when their starter left with injury, now we need to win three of four. Go Madison!

    ReplyDelete

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